Hello and welcome back to The Post-It Note! Today I want to get serious about a subject that is incredibly personal and has impacted and changed my life completely. I want to talk about suicide and how to cope after someone who you care for takes their life.
How do you navigate through that gut punch that leaves a hole in your core? How can you support yourself and also those around you? Suicide affects us all and doesn’t care about your skin color, how much money you have, or how good of a childhood that you had. It is unbiased about who it affects and does care about the unanswered questions that it leaves behind.
Within the age of technology, where our world is connected through our fingertips we see and hear about what feels like a never-ending chronicle of suicide related deaths, from celebrities to your next door neighbors kindergartner, you yourself might even be contemplating it now.
If you are, I want you to know that life will get better, it most likely won’t be tomorrow or even the next day. It will be down a road of self-care, therapy, and a belief in yourself to not give up, not for your mom, or dad, or best friend, but a promise to keep going because you deserve to feel happy and to live a life worth living. I promise that that will happen, but you have to fight for yourself.
I’ve been right where you are and I am a living breathing example of a person who succumbed to darkness and at the last moment reached out and began a climb out into a life that is worth living every day, even the bad days. If you need help, there is a National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, it provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, you can reach them at 1-800-273-8255.
If you are reading this and someone you know, be it a family member, a significant other, or a friend has committed suicide, I am so sorry. I have been there, and the pain is excruciating and unspeakable.
The Alliance of Hope is a grief support resource for suicide loss survivors that offers many different tools to help you through the different stages of grief. They also offer online support groups as well as a directory through the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention in the US, Australia, Brazil, Canada and China. They also have support groups for those in the UK through the Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide foundation.
I didn’t know that any of these groups existed when my ex-boyfriend, my first love, took his life after our breakup. I highly encourage finding a group of people who share the same experiences to heal with.
Here are a few other ways to help you cope when a loved one commits suicide
- Find a support group.
Find others in your community who understand the kind of loss that you are experiencing.
- Go to therapy, individual or group.
Therapy is one of the methods that I chose to help me understand what just happened. I was able to get one on one support and also tools and resources to help me to cope with loss.
- Write a letter to your loved one and say everything you need to say and then destroy or discard it.
This exercise really helped me to get so much off my chest, that I could not have otherwise said to my ex. I advise to get rid of the letter to release your raw emotion into the universe, so it doesn’t stay inside of you.
- Read a book on suicide and loss.
Here is a resource that lists books for survivors of suicide.
Things that you should know as a survivor
- Understand that you are not alone in this.
- Friends and family are experiencing the same loss as you are, please be patient with them.
- No matter what your relationship to the deceased, this was not your fault. It was a choice that they made.
- Things seem hard now, but they will get better.
- It’s okay to be angry.
- It’s okay to cry.
- Self-medicating with drugs and alcohol will only make you feel worse. (Trust me. I know.)
- Survivors guilt is real. You absolutely deserve to live and be happy.
- The closure that you need will have to come from within you.
- It’s okay to need space. Just don’t stay isolated.
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